The 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. The last swine flu H1N1 pandemic of 2009 caused panic but was contained. But what about the next one?
Overuse of antibiotics means there may be no cure for the next strain of deadly virus. Will mankind have a future when that strikes?
That's the theme of Reaper by Jon Grahame (published by Myrmidon Books), out now and available from Amazon and W H Smith websites in the UK, and as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle worldwide. It's the first in a trilogy and will be followed by Angel and Redemption. (Look elsewhere on this site at the Reaper Book page and read the first chapter).
I think it's a pretty good book, but then I'm biased because I wrote it. Jon Grahame is my latest pseudonym.
The problem is getting people to read what is a full blooded yarn, with a great hero and heroine, in an age when publishing is changing so fast.
I have had an agent for 25 years, am an award winning writer with 20 books published, but getting a manuscript accepted is more difficult than ever. Reaper is published by Newcastle based independent Myrmidon, which, despite being a small publishing house, has had one of its author's on the Booker long list and another on the short list for a major award at the Crime Writer's Association. However, major bookstores these days stock only what they believe are rock solid and safe: books by best selling authors or celebrity tomes, and these usually come from the major publishing houses with whom they do most of their business. W H Smith has taken a limited number of copies of Reaper but Waterstones, for instance, has declined. So how does an author get his book seen, noticed and read? Particularly when Amazon Kindle is flooded with self published books?
I've tried launching Twitters and Facebook entries hoping someone will make me a viral sensation but so far it hasn't happened. I'm open to suggestions on what else can be done.
Publishing is going through a revolution as dramatic as that launched by the Gutenberg printing press. Technology is changing the rules. It is the single biggest threat to the way we produce traditional literature. Printed novel sales in the UK fell by 25 per cent in the first two months of this year.
Apocalypse when for print books?